Monday, 29 June 2020


Another week has gone by and little by little there are signs of shops and businesses slowly returning to a modified form of business, i.e. open but with social distancing.  The dentist is now open but for emergencies only.  I have a broken tooth; it is not an emergency therefore I am put on the list for the day when it can be fixed. Now ... I await patiently fo David, at the hairdressers, to open and start taking appointments!

Meanwhile I am trying to cultivate or should that be, celebrate, "the little things". 

For example: I decided to touch up the paint on the garage door.  (We are having some rooms in the house painted this week so it put in mind to smarten up this up-and-over door which I painted in Farrow and Ball colours nearly 10 years ago!)  It is under cover and so doesn't get much weathering.

If one thing old age has taught me it is to keep up the maintenance of things.  Put that job off and then you are faced with a really big piece of work later.  As someone who is a great believer in Soap and Water I started by giving it a wash down with Fairy Liquid (dish detergent).  

To my astonishment that was all it needed.  Not a big event in my life but it gave me an enormous amount of satisfaction ... happiness is a gleaming garage door!

Another small moment of delight ... bread flour from Gavins Mill called Seeded White from Shipton Mill, Yorkshire.  Gavin's Mill has been open for business on a restricted scale (orders to be collected). I bought some stuff and topped up the order with this unfamiliar flour.  It is just so flavoursome!  It's an ill wind, as they say.  [Just for the record, the GM purchase has now gone through.]

* * * * * * * * * * NEW WORDS * * * * * * * * * * * 

Another delight for me is to come across new words or new origins of words.  Here are two from this week:

* * * * * * * FOR THE ARCHIVES:  BLOG AS AT POSITION   * * * * * * 
The format of 'Blogger' (this blog's template) has been redesigned recently.... maybe June 1, 2020 or thereabouts.

Sunday, 21 June 2020


Life  carries on.... in Byres Road this week.  Most shops are closed but have signs up to say they plan to re-open and serve on a 'take-away' basis or on the sidewalk at tables. 

The corner of University Place (a block south of University Avenue) and Byres Road has been re-designed due to work on the University of Glasgow buildings along with pedestrianisation.

Meanwhile in Milngavie on Saturday the tea rooms have opened up.  We sat outside in the sunshine and chatted to everyone... all were rejoicing in the fact that lockdown is easing and we can go about outside as long as we observe the 2 metre 'social distancing' policy which has not been lifted.   (The R factor is between .6 and .9 so we all understand that it may be a few weeks yet before the government decrees that social distancing can be reduced to, say, 1 metre.)

The yellow lines outside the tea room can be seen on the ground. Only one person is allowed into the premises at any one time.  This has been and continues to be pretty well the case in all premises i.e. small shops like the fishmongers, delicatessen, chemist, ice-cream parlour.

I was reading that distilleries have been allowed to carry on (though some staff have been furloughed) as they are considered an 'essential business'.  Quite so! 

Monday, 15 June 2020


Though Milngavie town centre is quiet there are a couple of cafes, and the ice cream parlour, which have opened up to serve people on a 'carry out' basis.  The weather is fine so queuing and sitting outside is not unpleasant.  And it certainly is nice to meet and greet all the folk in the precinct.

I met a friend and we ordered our coffees ("Just chap on the door, Missus") to enjoy on a nearby bench. 

First meeting with a friend for coffee in 3 months

Maybe later this week the 2 metre distance rule will be relaxed allowing pubs, restaurants and hotels to open and make our movements a little less restricted.  Of all the constraints in Lockdown, I find the hardest one is having to step aside for (increasing numbers of!) cyclists, mums with push-chairs, people with dogs either on a lead or not on a lead, while walking on the narrow pathways.  If you don't hear them coming behind you or you come around a bend, it can be a bit startling!)  Later: skateboarders are worse!

Certainly there are more cyclists about.  When driving I am now extremely careful about keeping an eye out for them especially when opening my car door! It is often hard to predict what they are going to do, say, at a  round-about or an intersection.  Kids tend to just wheel straight through the lights, the 'green man' signal or, one case I watched, the lad just scooted straight across the roundabout in the opposite direction of the flow!

Milngavie precinct during Lockdown

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Iain in back yard checking dinghy for leaks

Once lockdown is lifted and the children can visit freely maybe I should ask permission to use this garden feature as a paddling pool...?

One Red Hot Poker plant has flowered in the garden but John's photo of them in Orkney some years ago is much better!

Red Hot Poker's wonderful red colour outside a tin shed in Walls, Orkney 

Tuesday, 9 June 2020


We are all well and continue to lead a very quiet life as we move into June and to what we hope are the final weeks of Coronavirus Lockdown.
We are now allowed to visit family and friends in small numbers, out of doors, while observing strict social distancing of  2 metres.  No going into the house to use the toilet, for example.

So I went to visit Anne.  St Germain's Loch at the bottom of her garden is lovely.

Red poppies and delphiniums in her middle garden.

 * * * * * *  IN MY OWN BACK YARD, I.E. GARDEN * * * * * * * * ** 

Sunday, 31 May 2020


Things are beginning to ease: garden centres are to open, some outdoor activities can resume, e.g. golf, sailing, tennis, fishing.  You can socialise in small groups of friends and family but keep social distance and bring your own food and utensils.  No going into the house to use the bathroom.

So it was an evening meal on the deck for John's birthday today (Sunday). 

Iain, Mairi and John, Ishbel (13.5 yrs), Alastair (12 yrs), Harriet (she will be 7 next week) and Ellie (5 yrs).  Everyone is in good health despite (or maybe because of?) these 2 1/2 months of 'hibernation'.

Saturday, 30 May 2020


This fabric shopping bag (which was Iseabail's) does not stand up easily in the self-packing area of the supermarket check-out area. To fix that I made square corners on the bottom (and also sorted the problem of a hole there)!

The photos are self-explanatory. The last photo shows that it nicely fits, say, cartons of juice, as they are, roughly, about the width of the 'floor' of the bag.

Sunday, 24 May 2020


Another week...we all continue to be free of any virus or other illnesses. Lockdown is to continue because, while the infection and death rates have gone down the virus has not gone away. To raise the lockdown would risk a spike in the disease. It has been decided that schools will remain closed and, in Scotland, re-open August 11th. The only easing has been for outdoor activities to resume e.g. golf, tennis, people can move away from home farther for exercise. The recycling centres continue to be closed; fly-tipping is quite bad as a result. Other bin collection is continuing but in a reduced, and somewhat irregular, manner.

Don and Carol have contacted us to say that Mary, my mother's youngest sister and the last of that generation, died this week, aged 92.  She had not been keeping well and died in the Andover Terrace Seniors Residence in Salmon Arm where she had been living in the last years of her life. 

Mary Harrington (nee Sansum; previous married name of Phipps m. Bob Phipps) April 11, 1928 - May 20, 2020

Her daughter, Pat, who lives in Kelowna and is the owner of The Book Bin, emailed to say that there is to be no formal funeral, of course, because of the pandemic in B.C.

* * * * * MARY'S (and my mother's) FAMILY * * * * * 

Their family surname is Sansum. Here is a photo taken in 1936 of the 5 children. They are the children of Victor H Sansum and his (deceased) wife Patricia (nee Chadbourn).  In the photo is their step-mother, Alice (nee Grayson). Their mother, Patricia died when the youngest child, Vic, was about 2 years old.

Left to right:  front is Vic; centre is Mary; above Vic is John; behind him is Margaret; Alice is in the centre and Joan on the right.

Left to right: Vic, John, Joan, Margaret, Mary

The photo is dated 1958 in Vancouver.  Their father and Alice (Rev and Mrs VH Sansum) lived in Point Grey near Macdonald Avenue (?3600 block?).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

In her message to me she reminded me about the time my mother was buried in the Mt Ida cemetery in August 2003.  We were all gathered around the edge of the family plot preparing for the lowering of the casket when we became aware of movement in the trees opposite the gravesite.  There, a short distance away, was a young black bear loping along in the woods, presumably doing what bears do, not paying any particular attention to us, but none-the-less gave us a bit of a start!  Even with her death, like in life, there was plenty of drama!

Actually, that was the last of a string of events that occurred on that visit when I flew from Glasgow to Calgary and then travelled on to Salmon Arm.  John Scott put me on the Greyhound bus for the trip over the Rockies; it's about a 6 hour ride.  The smoke from the forest fires started to get really thick coming into Lake Louise.  However the bus driver decided to chance it and we carried on. (I recall he was a tall, handsome native Indian with long braids and a fine high cheek-boned countenance.)

After an overnight stay in Salmon Arm we drove to Kelowna to the Kelowna General Hospital to be with my mother who was in intensive care (having had a stroke).  Smoke and ash from local forest fires from Armstrong all the way to Kelowna was everywhere.  We stayed in the intensive care unit all afternoon. In the early evening she passed away.  By the time we left the hospital to head back to Salmon Arm (2 hours' drive) it was dark.  Forest fire ash covered the cars in the hospital car park.  Driving north we could see the flames leaping from tree to tree on the hill tops to our right.